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Tiger Woods comes out swinging and reminds the world just how good he can be

Tiger Woods is defying the naysayers with some of the best since his car crash. <i>Photo: Getty</i>

Tiger Woods is defying the naysayers with some of the best since his car crash. Photo: Getty

Tiger Woods has shrugged off criticism for his bad-taste tampon prank, risen above the lingering effects of a near-fatal 2021 car crash and demonstrated once again why golf may never see his like again.

In a stunning round at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational he nearly posted an albatross while shooting one of the lowest third-round scores to the delight of his big gallery.

Woods jumped 32 spots up the leaderboard after carding a four-under-par 67 at Riviera, lower than every other player except Denny McCarthy (64) and three-shot leader Jon Rahm (65).

The round left Woods tied 26th at three-under – 12 shots behind Rahm – in his first start of the season and all the more impressive considering he played only nine competitive rounds last year after sustaining traumatic injuries to his right leg in a 2021 car accident.

Low expectations, high performance

Few could have possibly anticipated much from Woods considering he finished his second round on Friday having bogeyed three of his final four holes and made the cut on the number.

And then there was the distraction of the criticism he received for handing a tampon to Justin Thomas after out-driving him – a bad joke intended to imply his playing partner hits like a girl.

But despite the baggage he brought into the tournament’s third round, Woods put on a ball-striking display that included one eagle, three birdies and a bogey. It was also his lowest score since he returned to action after his car accident.

Woods, who started the round on the back nine, reached the turn at two under after birdies on his first and fifth holes before turning things up a notch.

The 15-times major champion delighted the gallery at the 509-yard, par-five first hole with a near albatross when his second shot from 190 yards settled three feet from the cup to set up a tap-in eagle.

Woods reached five under on the day when he drained an 11-foot birdie putt at the fifth hole before giving a stroke back at the seventh, where he missed the green with his approach shot.

‘A bit on the sore side’

When asked if this week’s performance might convince him to play another event ahead of the April 6-9 Masters Woods, who admitted to feeling a “bit on the sore side”, did not rule out the possibility.

“Hopefully, tomorrow go out and play a good one, post this event, we’ll go ahead and reassess everything and see where we are, see how I recover from a full tournament,” said Woods.

“I haven’t done this in a while. The last time I did it was at The Open Championship, so it’s been a while. Hopefully, the body will still feel good sometime later next week. As of right now, recovery time will be fun.”

-with AAP

Topics: Tiger Woods
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